Yes, I read the Alastor prequel comic, and I must say it confirmed a lot of theories I had about Alastor (though I didn't expect him to actually curse).
Alternate song titles for this chapter:
"I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face"
"When She Loved Me"
"I'm a Fool to Want You"
20 Years Later
"Husker!" Alastor slammed his hand on the bar counter, causing Husk and Angel Dust to jump. "Bloody Mary! And make it a double!"
The Radio Demon's eyes were bloodshot, the bags beneath them large enough to suit Santa Claus' deliveries. His voice was loud, even for him, his tone sharp and demanding. His smile was as wide as ever, though the corners were twitching uncontrollably.
Husk acknowledged it all silently as he went to fix the drink. "I'll make it a triple. On the house."
"Hey!" Angel furrowed his brow. "How come ya never give me any handouts?"
Husk ignored the spider demon and handed the Bloody Mary—really bloody—to Alastor. He hung his head back and downed the concoction in one gulp. Smacking his lips, Alastor brought the glass down hard on the counter.
"Another," he growled.
Husk shook his head and swiped the glass back. "You remember what happened last time you got wasted. I barely made it out alive."
Alastor didn't argue, only leaned his forehead onto his palm. Husk didn't need to question the Radio Demon's behavior, considering what day it was. Angel Dust, meanwhile, looked positively bewildered.
"Don't say anything," Husk mouthed to the spider, making an X with his paws. "Don't say anything."
"You don't look so good, Al," Angel Dust said.
Husk facepalmed. He fucking said something.
"Ya sick or something?" Angel put on a seductive smirk as he leaned his elbow on the counter. "Anything I can do to make it all better?"
Husk was sure Angel was going to get slapped. Instead, Alastor groaned as he rose from his stool.
"H-Husker," he said, his static clipping in and out. "D-Do me a favor and s-serve the spider some cyanide."
"Aw!" Angel faked a pout. "You're breakin' my heart here, Smiles!"
Alastor waved him off and headed for the stairs.
But Angel wouldn't quit. "Where ya off to, Al?"
"Bed," Alastor replied shortly.
"At three in the afternoon?" Angel smoothed back his hair. "Mind if join ya?"
"Ha!" Alastor snapped his head around. "The only beings allowed in my bed are myself and my wife!"
"Aw, not that bullshit excuse again!" Angel put his lower hands on his hips. "If you're married, how come ya don't wear no ring?"
"Shut up, shut up, shut up," Husk said between his teeth.
The spider didn't listen. "And why ya sleepin' over here and not at home with the little missus?"
Alastor's glowing eyes narrowed. "That, my effeminate fellow, is none of your goddamn business!"
The Radio Demon hastened up the stairs in a red blur. Angel Dust held his upper hands out in a shrug.
"What put a stick in his ass?"
Husk pinched the bridge of his nose. "Read the room, dumbass."
The moment Alastor's bedroom door was shut, he allowed his smile to drop. It was impossible to maintain it on this particular day. The day he thought about her the most.
He sighed as he leaned back against the door and looked down at his left hand. He took off his glove, revealing the black wedding band beneath it.
Alastor didn't show off his ring these days. It aroused too many questions that were too painful to answer. At the same time, he couldn't bear to remove it. It had been a gift from her, after all.
He crossed the room, eyeing the bed as he passed it. The bed that for many years had felt empty even when he lay in it. He hadn't been much of a sleeper before, but he found it much more difficult these days. For every time he lay in that bed, there was an absence he couldn't help but acknowledge.
Looking away from the bed, Alastor went over to the gramophone in the corner. He didn't change the record, as he'd been playing the same one over and over since he'd arrived at the hotel three weeks ago. He moved the needle towards the edge of the record and turned the crank. Once the piano music started, he sat in a red easy chair and listened.
"You simply can't forget her,
The moment you have met her.
Your heart will never, ever be the same."
Alastor propped an elbow onto the armrest and leaned his forehead onto his hand.
"Tina, Tina, nobody else but Tina.
That's the little lady's name."
It was her song. The one she'd been named after. She'd performed it for him on the piano on their first anniversary. He'd been so touched by the gift, he'd asked if it would be alright to record it.
He was grateful she'd said yes, or else he might've forgotten her voice by now.
"And once you've gone and kissed her,
Give up, you can't resist her.
Your thoughts will wear her picture like a frame."
Alastor softly sang along with the record:
"Tina, Tina, nobody quite like Tina.
That's the little lady's name."
He closed his eyes, imagining that she was in the room, sitting at the piano, singing for his ears alone.
"She'll merely smile, and in a twinkling,
You'll swear that smile contains a star.
Before that smile, you had no inkling
How much in love you really are."
The memory of her delightful smile brought a small one to Alastor's face.
"Let others look for angels.
I have no time for angels.
I've found someone more than just divine.
Tina, Tina, no sir, you can't have Tina.
Tina is mine, all mine."
Still in his fantasy, Alastor reached to stroke her lovely, black hair.
"Tina is mine, all mine."
The record ended. Alastor opened his eyes and saw that his hand touched only air. The black wedding ring glinted in the candlelight that filled his room.
Then his smile faded, reality crashing down on him once again.
Closing his eyes, Alastor snapped his fingers to replay the record. Even if it was just a recording, it was the closest thing to having her truly there.
Their marriage of convenience had started out fine, for the first few years, at least. Lucifer had no longer pestered Alastor about marriage, fewer demons had tried to put the moves on him, and Tina had made good company.
Over time, the two of them had come to respect each other, like best friends, and found themselves talking, singing and dancing late into the night. Even Alastor's downtime had slowly become less dull. An eternal companion hadn't only provided an excuse, but just the right amount of entertainment he'd been craving for. Indeed, their little merger had been going much smoother than expected.
That is, until the day it'd stopped being an act.
Alastor should've supposed it inevitable. Even someone as stubborn and prideful as Tina was no match for his charms. He couldn't help it if everyone found him attractive.
But never, in a million years, could Alastor have ever anticipated the affections he would develop for her as well.
He wasn't quite sure when it had happened. But somehow, in all their time spent together, he had grown fond of his wife, and found himself yearning for her company more and more with each passing day.
With that yearning, had come the sudden urges to get closer to her. To touch her hand, to hold her in his arms, to run his fingers through her hair. Eventually, he'd moved into her bed. Not to do anything obscene, just to be near her, to shelter her through her night terrors. He'd even gone so far as to taste her lips again. Not for show, but simply because he'd wanted to.
It had been the closest thing he'd ever felt to love since his mother, though of a vastly different nature.
Once he and Tina had decided to finally act as husband and wife, things had quickly become complicated. Alastor hadn't minded the additional physical intimacy at first, but Tina's needs had been greater.
She'd wanted a child. Not just any child, but his.
No matter how much he'd cared for her, that was the one need Alastor simply couldn't fulfill.
He had thought she would understand. That she would move past it as he had. But Tina had only grown more distant, and their relationship more strained. He'd tried his best to make it up to her, to take her mind off such a trivial matter. Lavish gifts, nights on the town, special dinners, none of it had been enough to replace her one desire.
It had come to a point where she started threatening to leave.
"Well, go on then!" he had carelessly said one day. "See how long you last out there without me!"
That had been ten years ago. She hadn't set foot in their home since.
It seemed Alastor had underestimated her. Or rather, Tina had grown since their first meeting. She knew how to better use her abilities, to intimidate demons, to make deals, even gained her own little bit of territory. She was far from the status of Overlord, but owned a successful club on the West Side of Pentagram City, with enough respect from surrounding denizens that very few dared to cross her.
She learned from the best, Alastor thought with a prideful smile that didn't last long. I taught her too well.
He hadn't realized just how much he would miss her. Every time he walked through Hell and demons either ran or cowered in fear as he passed by, every time he sat in his empty mansion, every time he encountered anything related to jazz, comedy, or bats;he would become highly aware of the fact that Tina wasn't at his side.
Of course, Alastor had other friends, but none of those relationships were anywhere close to what he'd had with Tina. He'd never been more open with anyone than he'd been with her, and she'd been the only one to trust him enough to do the same. He could be vulnerable around her, let her see the occasional frowns. But not with anyone else, especially at this hotel, where he was supposed to be the one with all the power. He never had to worry about that with Tina.
It wasn't that he hadn't tried to win her back, but she'd always been a stubborn little bat. Once her mind was made up, she refused to back down from it. It was one of the many things he adored about her, even if it prevented her from coming home.
These ten years without her had felt longer than the ninety years before he'd met her.
He brushed his fingertips over the wedding ring. Today would've been their twentieth anniversary.
None of the other residents of the hotel knew the real reason the Radio Demon had come here. It was true, he'd been utterly bored. But it wasn't just cheap entertainment he was looking for. No, there was only one thing that could fill the void in his endless days of monotony.
Just then, something whispered in his ear. Alastor turned and saw one of his shadow minions leaning on his shoulder.
"Hmm?" Alastor's ear twitched as he listened. "Yes?"
Like a switch had been flipped, Alastor sat up straight, his wide grin popping back onto his face. "She's coming here?!"
He grabbed the shadow by its hands and twirled it around the room, chipper jazz music accompanying them.
"What did I tell you, friends?!" he cried joyfully. "It was only a matter of time before she'd arrive here!"
He released the shadow, which floated around dizzily.
"I knew you couldn't stay away from me forever, mon amour," Alastor said, looking down fondly at his wedding ring. "After all…"
He hummed as he kissed the ring. "No one believes in second chances more than you."
And this is how this fic ties in with the pilot. Sorry to end it bittersweetly, but this was always the initial plan, and you knew there had to be some reason she wasn't at the hotel. Not sure when I'll write the next one, but I might take a break from the multi-chapter fics for a little while.
Be sure to leave a review! Thanks for reading!